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Peking Garden

1810 Trawood Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 593-4900

Peking Garden dates from the time when El Paso had only a few Chinese restaurants, and the food served was the typical menu of Americanized dishes. Around 2002 the restaurant changed owners, and although the menu looks just about the same as before, the food seems to be lighter now with the sauces being less saturated with soy sauce and more of the "Chinese taste" coming through. While the main attraction at the "old" Peking Garden seemed to be the extremely cheap lunch specials, people seem to be going now for more upscale food than can be found at the numerous buffets in east El Paso.

Other than the fact that the prices are quite a bit higher now, these are all very good developments. An unfortunate aspect of Peking Garden, though, is that it seems to be lacking in quality control. While the owner is apparently an expert Chinese cook, he is not always present to ensure that the best quality orders are prepared or that special requests can be honored. I have experienced some meals that did not taste quite right, but the biggest problem has been getting meals with MSG when I requested that it be omitted. Small amounts of MSG are not usually a problem for me, but Peking Garden apparently uses massive amounts that will severely affect people who are sensitive to it, as I am.

Normally the MSG problem would be enough for me to give the restaurant a low score and to not bother reviewing it further. The Bean Cake Family Style, though, has one of the best sauces in El Paso, if you can tolerate eating it. This is a light sauce without a heavy presence of soy sauce, served with fresh vegetables that are not overly raw and crunchy. The tofu is good, and I thought this was a very good meal until one of the cooks put enough MSG in it to give me a migraine headache that incapacitated me for most of the day. There are only a couple of other restaurants, both in east El Paso, that have caused such a severe reaction in me. Friends tell me that the Peking Garden located on Fort Boulevard uses similar high amounts of MSG.

The Vegetable Delight with Hunan sauce is a dish that I have enjoyed here.

The Hot and Sour Soup has always been good.

One of my other pet peeves is with the hot tea-- they charge $1.75, and you get tea made with the cheapest industrial brand tea bags available.

The Trawood Drive location has one of the best waitresses in El Paso, but that is of no help if I cannot eat the food (after my MSG experiences I am now afraid to try).



Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: Yes
Additional Location:
955 N. Resler Dr.
Smoking: No Smoking
Buffet: No

Most Recent Visit
Sep. 26, 2006

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Bean Cake Family Style, Hot and Sour Soup

Special Ratings
Bean Cake Family Style:
Hunan Vegetables:
Sweet and Sour Chicken:
Hot and Sour Soup:
Egg Roll: Pork